Applying for jobs can be a daunting task, especially if you are unsure what employers are looking for. Not only do you have to complete resumes and interviews, but you also have to consider how you’ll craft your cover letter for job applications that ask for one. With these checkpoints, you can write a cover letter that will help you stand out amongst the other thousands of applicants.
What is a Cover Letter?
A cover letter is like a glorified resume: it allows you to further discuss points that you think would help you get a job. You have the chance to emphasize your past learning experiences, strengths, and what makes you the best fit for the position. Your cover letter is your chance to demonstrate your interest in the organization and motivate the reader to interview you.
How do I write a cover letter?
Your cover letter should be written in a basic business letter format. There are thousands of templates out there that can help you get started. You will most likely include your resume with your cover letter, so it is important that they match. You can find matching templates for resumes and cover letters in Microsoft Word and by searching online. Your cover letter should include:
1. An introduction
This is the very first part of your cover letter, and it needs to catch the employer’s interest. First, you need to address the letter to the individual that is hiring. If you can’t find specific names, use the name of the organization or title of the person that is hiring.
Then, identify what job you are applying for and why you are the best fit for that job.
“I am applying for the Marketing Communications Coordinator because of my background in professional communications and client marketing.”
The rest of the introduction you can use to call out past leadership positions, knowledge, and applicable awards that relate to the job description.
2. Body: Your past experiences.
The body paragraph should demonstrate your understanding of the role and how your qualifications relate to it. When writing this section, avoid simply repeating your resume. Choose two to three past experiences to highlight and explain how they make a great candidate. Show that you have made a mark in your past positions: future employers love numbers and direct results! It is okay to gloat; you want people to see how you stand out above other applicants.
Your final section is your call-to-action, where you’ll indicate your hope to stay in touch. You can say that you’d appreciate the opportunity to interview and discuss the position in more detail. You can also express your intent to follow up in the future with a phone call or email. Remember to sign it with either “Respectfully” or “Sincerely.”
The Dos and Don’ts of a Cover Letter.
Personalize each letter and make sure it is professional. You want the company to know exactly why you’re are the best fit for the job. You’ve got the skills, you’ve got the experience, and you have the right attitude, so just prove that you are capable of the job. Use action or skills verbs show how you have created and achieved goals and be sure to use short paragraphs.
Rewrite your resume or use the same exact language. Your cover letter is meant to build upon what you know and what you what the employer to know. Also, keep the cover letter to one page and don’t go on for too long. Make sure each word has a purpose—the point is not to bore your subject!
A professional cover letter is the key to helping you stand out among other applicants and allows you the space to talk about your experiences. If you are struggling with writing, you can always check for resources online or contact your school’s career office. You’ve got the knowledge, the skills, and soon you may even have a job.
Looking for more resources? Check out Bethel University’s Office of Career Development and Calling for tips on resumes, job interviews, networking, and more!